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Russia 18, Crimea 9, U.s. 7, Us 6, Hollywood 4, Nbc News 3, Oscar Pistorius 3, United States 3, Europe 3, Vladimir Putin 3, New York 3, Navy 2, Kerry Kennedy 2, Lupita Nyong 2, Andrea Mitchell 2, Ayman Mohyeldin 2, Michael Mcfaul 2, Sochi 2, Kiev 2, Damian Trujillo 1,
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  NBC    NBC Nightly News  

    March 3, 2014
    5:30 - 6:01pm PST  

nature but more rainfall. >> all right. we'll take it. good flignight. >> see you at 6:00. on our broadcast tonight, under siege, a dramatic escalation by russian forces and as the american president and nations around the world are now speaking up. but what are the chances the russian leader is listening. and the big hit, stretching thousands of miles across the country. tonight 17 days until spring, snow having shut down the government in washington again. is there any end in sight? a cry in the dark. critical testimony from a neighbor on opening day in the oscar pistorius murder trial as the russian now lays out its case in the most widely watched trial in years. and a star is born. the incredible journey of the woman who stunned audiences in her first hollywood film and then stunned them again last night. "nightly news" begins now.
good evening. it is unclear how this ends, but it's very clear that vladimir putin is not troubling himself with what the rest of the world has to say. and now that the world has gone home from the olympic games, now the world has witnessed what happened in the center of kiev, vladimir putin has sent troops in. he has moved on the eastern portion of the ukraine make no doubt he considers a part of russia by heritage, if not officially. it is where we begin our coverage tonight during an undeniably dicey time overseas. andrea mitchell happens to be at andrew's air force base where she is about to depart with the secretary of state for kiev. andrea, good evening.
>> reporter: good evening, brian. the president has been meeting with his national security team before sending secretary kerry to kiev later tonight from here at andrews air force base. they are considering tough economic sanctions against russia. the question is, is vladimir putin even paying attention. russia's leader today pointedly showing off his military might, signaling he is not about to back down, despite criticism from europe, and an unprecedented 90-minute call, a tough one with president obama who repeated his warning today. >> what cannot be done is for russia with impunity, to put its soldiers on the ground and to violate basic principles that are recognized around the world. >> reporter: the president, secretary of state and vice president spent the weekend marshaling world leaders against vladimir putin. >> continuing down this path of violating the sovereignty of another country will have costs and consequences. >> reporter: the u.n. security council met today, and u.s.
rhetoric was strong and pointed. >> what is happening today is a dangerous military intervention today in ukraine. it is an act of aggression. it must stop. >> reporter: the u.s. is threatening sanctions, banning visas for russians involved in the crimea crackdown. cancelling trade talks and upcoming joint military exercises, cancelling this summer'sgate in sochi, ultimately blocking russia from international banking, even kicking russia out of the g-8. but the toughest of the sanctions would require approval of all 28 of the european countries, and europe is not united on how to punish russia. in fact, europe's most important economic player, germany's angela merkel is reportedly worrying about pushing putin too heard. u.s. officials say merkel told president obama sunday night that after speaking to putin, she didn't think he was in touch with reality, saying putin was in another world. but why would putin play the aggressor, after spending more than $50 billion in sochi polishing russia's image? >> i think putin senses
reluctance and even weakness in the united states, a desire not to get into any wars. >> reporter: that's a point the president's political opponents are seizing on today. >> this is the ultimate result of a feckless american policy where nobody believes in america's strength anymore. >> reporter: andrea mitching, nbc news, andrew's air force base. this is bill neely in the russian crimea where the russians are tightening their grip. they fought wars before, this time they didn't have to fight wars to take the region. this time they marched in and took the region in just three days. the russians marching across crimea seems relentless and unstoppable. the big question is where exactly in ukraine will these men stop. russian troops now surround the ukrainian army bases, this one the biggest. ukrainian soldiers inside won't leave, but there is no sign they're preparing to fight. ukraine's navy in crimea is equally defiant. ♪ singing their national anthem.
but they, too, are surrounded. their ships are blocked by russia's navy. crimea was russian for much of its history. its people fly the flag, pray for the troops, and welcome russia's invasion. >> they want to be part of russia. >> here, everyone is russian and the crimea was russian before, so this is russia territory. >> reporter: the pro-russian revolution in ukraine isn't over. in the east, protesters storm city hall demanding a split with western ukraine. crimea isn't the only fault line in this country russia can exploit. the march of russia's soldiers may not end here. and russian threats here continue tonight, brian. it has demanded the surrender of two ukrainian warships at sea. meanwhile, russian warplanes have been probing ukrainian
airspace, testing their defenses and their resolve, and, of course, the resolve of the west. brian? >> bill neely who was in the crimea for us. andrea mitchell before that who now departs with secretary of state john kerry for kiev. thanks to you both. we are now joined by michael mcfaul, who just days ago departed as u.s. ambassador to russia to return to stanford university as an expert on the region and the country and its president, vladimir putin. mr. ambassador, a lot of folks on tv over the weekend seem to desperately want this to be a plot line, putin versus obama. if you're vladimir putin, however, how much is the u.s. a part of your thinking and how much is this truly a domestic matter to you? >> well, for president putin, ukraine is very important to his vision of creating what he calls a eurasian economic union. and just a month ago he was victorious in his view when then
president yanukovych rejected the european and started negotiations with russia. but then just a few weeks ago, that president, yanukovych fled russia, and that was a big blow to putin, a big blow of what should happen in terms of his vision in terms of russian and ukraine. this is his counterpunch to let everybody know that he is going to be the dominant power in his view in this part of the world. >> and what is possibly going to motivate him to want to listen to the west and listen to among others the president of the united states? >> well, if i'm talking as professor mcfaul, i'm pessimistic. i think the probabilities for a diplomatic solution are small. i think we're going to see russian troops in crimea for a long, long time. it may not be an independent crimea. it may not be part of russia, but it may have this ambiguous sovereignty that we've seen in other parts of the soviet union. but my diplomatic hat, i was a
diplomat five days ago, says we have to try to use diplomacy to get those troops to go back, to find a diplomatic solution, and to allow the ukrainians to decide their future as an independent ukraine. and i do think it is the right tack for the president, secretary kerry, other western allies to try to diffuse and deescalate this crisis now because the consequences of a military conflict in ukraine between russians and ukrainians, that is dire. that is not good for ukraine, russia, or the west. >> well, our thanks tonight to both professor and former ambassador michael mcfaul for joining us tonight from the campus of stanford university. thank you very much. and now to matters of this seemingly endless winter, although spring begins 17 days from now, they're not catching up any time soon. the midatlantic was hit hard again today. this is how it looked in d.c. at the height of it, where they got about 5 inches of snow, enough to shut down most of the
government, school, and many businesses. more snow and ice as well in parts of the south. that's what has made this such a strange winter, leading to big traffic problems, cutting power to tens of thousands in arkansas, texas, tennessee. about 2,000 flights had to be canceled just today. it has been so cold out for so long, even jim cantore is indoors. actually, we took advantage of having him here in new york tonight to have our friend, the weather channel meteorologist be in the studio with us here tonight. what has to happen? you guys are always talking about new patterns. does new warm air have to come in and just stay for a while? >> what we don't see is a big pattern change, all right. but what we do see is something that may influence the spring going forward. today great lakes ice. we're always watching great lakes ice. statistics have been around since 1963. today, great lakes ice, we're always watching the great lakes ice. this is the most ice we've seen late in the season, the statistics go back to 1963. there were only three times that we saw ice more than 90%, let's
look at the march and may outlook. which will basically make up ha what we'll all the meteorological spring. look at the cold air. these are very high probabilities of the cold air hanging over the great lakes. you to think the ice is having a big part in that. let's look at the three-month period again, probabilities. this tells us if we have more chances, what actually is going to happen. the spring arrives in the south and will across much of the nation. but the great lakes staying colder i think is an influence from that ice. it's going to take a while to melt that. probably all of spring. >> that's the bottom line. good to have you indoors with us. good to see you always. now to what will be one of the most watched trials of the year. oscar pistorius, the so-called blade runner who made it all the way to the olympic games is as you may know accused of murdering his girlfriend. the trial started today in south
africa. much of it will be televised for the world to see. we get our initial report tonight from ayman mohyeldin in pretoria. >> reporter: oscar pistorius swarmed by media, not as a sports legend but as an accused murderer, entering court, and seeing for the first time the mother of his slain girlfriend, glamorous model and lawyer riva steenkamp, shot and killed last year on valentine's day. >> do you understand the charges, mr. pistorius? >> i do. i do, my lady. >> how do you plead? >> not guilty, my lady. >> the soft-spoken competitor is a far cry from the fierce competitor who made history as the first athlete with prosthetic legs ever to compete in the olympics. a national hero, a beautiful girlfriend. the perfect couple, it seems, until that night last year when police were called to oscar pistorius' home and found steenkamp dead, shot through the bathroom door by pistorius who
said he thought she was an intruder. the prosecution says he intentionally killed her. their first witness a neighbor who chose not to be on camera today who says she was awakened that night by loud screams and four gunshots from the direction of pistorius' apartment 200 yards away. >> it was bloodcurdling, something that leaves you cold. something you can't portray in the court. you can't explain it. you just know that woman's life was really threatened. >> reporter: mary carillo of nbc sports spent time with pistorius before the 2012 olympics. >> he seemed to be kind, gentle, humble. that he is up for this murder trial is a little hard to understand. >> reporter: but the prosecution claims there was another side to oscar pistorius that few saw, a short-tempered, paranoid gun enthusiast capable of murder. did he deliberately murder reeva steenkamp? this closely watched trial now turns on that question.
ayman mohyeldin, nbc news, preor the yarks south africa. still ahead for us this evening, for the first time a kennedy daughter speaks out about her high profile acquittal of driving while drugged. tonight her message what she calls a terrible mistake. and later, hollywood's newest cinderella story. the incredible real life journey of a woman who had all the talk swirling around her today.
when a member of the kennedy family is caught up in a case of alleged wrong doing and is on the other side of the law, lots of things can happen and lots of judgments are made. most recently, a year and a half ago came the headline that the daughter of bobby kennedy and ethel k. had been in a traffic accident after driving under the influence of what we later learned was a sleeping pill. but the case went all the way to a trial, all the way to a verdict of not guilty. and now, kerry kennedy is talking about the lessons learned about our system. her story tonight from our national correspondent kate snow. >> reporter: on friday, her
relief was visible, kerry kennedy, the 7th of robert kennedy's 11 children, herself a mother of three and a human rights activist was acquitted by a jury who deliberated for just an hour. you think your case says something about the american justice system. >> i worked on this case for 20 months, and it was five days in court. most people can't take off that length of time for work. so they end up pleading, which is essentially signing a false confession for something that they didn't do. >> reporter: do you think the jury's verdict had anything to do with the kennedy name? >> you know, i really don't. i think it was because i was innocent and i was proven innocent. i had good, solid lawyers. >> reporter: what her lawyers argued was that kennedy did not commit a crime when she mistakenly took an ambien and then got in her car to head to the gym. >> i made a terrible mistake a stupid mistake and a mistake that i completely regret. i went to take my thyroid
medication, which i take every day of my life, and by mistake i took a sleeping medication. i blacked out. i have no memory of what happened. but i apparently swerved down the highway and i hit a truck. and i was found slumped over my steering wheel. >> reporter: you didn't realize you had taken the ambien? >> well, of course not. i would never get in a car after taking a sleeping medication. but it was a mistake. it's not a criminal action. and it really should never have been brought to trial. >> reporter: the district attorney's office that charged kennedy told nbc news today that her case was treated no differently than any other. kennedy said her experience with the judicial system has only made her work she does in her father's name more urgent to help the disenfranchised and wrongly accused. kate snow, nbc news, new york. up next here tonight, the moment the crowd erupted in celebration after a high-stakes rescue mission underground.
those sound machines, white noise generators that some parents use to help their babies sleep may damage their baby's hearing. a published study in the george journal pediatrics noted some of them can throw off the the same amount of sound in decibels as the highest allowed noise in the workplace in the united states. doctors say they can be used safely with babies if they're not too close and kept at a low volume.
if you recall that sinkhole that swallowed eight perfectly good vintage corvettes? good news as the first victim has been pulled from the hole and is mostly okay. there it is. its '092 zr blue devil-1. it's a fixable oil leak, but now it's on to the other seven, which as you can tell won't be so easy. something that has to be seen to be believed. this is singapore, second hole, of sudden death for lpga golf paula kramer. there is the caddie at the hole. this is a 75-foot putt. watch the ball. she later admitted she thought this was going to be two putts. she plays the break. it goes down the slope and in the cup. as one announcer put it, you could stand there all day trying and not sink that same putt. that's an eagle, and that's a victory for paula creamer.
the nfl may experiment with one aspect of a way to make the game harder. post-touchdown has become all but automatic. last year 99% of them were completed. according to, the idea of being kicked around would mean moving the ball back to the 25 from where it gets spotted now at the 2 yard line that would mean, in effect, a 43-yard attempt, and that would work for a tougher kick for most. in some time zones the academy awards are still going on. that is to say it was a long broadcast last night at three and a half hours, longer than "the wolf of wall street." it was seen by about 40 million people in the u.s. alone. ratings were above last year. it was a different oscars this year, thanks largely to the touch of ellen degeneres, who with picture-taking and pizza-feeding treated the first three rows like a club, albeit a
hyper talented and wealthy club. and while it had its odd moments mostly it was different because of some tough choices. 2013 was a big year at the movies, and while "gravity" and "dallas buyers" did very well, "12 years a slave" won best picture. at the end of a long night some immediately dubbed 12 years of broadcast. when we come back on this monday night, perhaps the nicest and loveliest and most enduring from last night as a new star gives thanks for that statuette.
now, about that lovely endearing and enduring moment from last night's academy awards. it came from a young actress delivering her acceptance speech for best supporting actress in the film that would go on to win the big award, "12 years a slave," best picture. it was her message and vivid emotion that made the moment perhaps the most memorable of the night. we get more on her story from tonight from nbc's stephanie gosk. >> and the oscar goes to lupita nyong'o. >> reporter: every once in a while, hollywood elevates an unknown to acting's highest heights. this time the honor went to kenyan lupita nyong'o. who first came to the u.s. to go
to college. >> when i look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you're from, your dreams are valid. >> reporter: the 30-year-old won best supporting actress for the role as the young slave, patsy, in "12 years a slave." >> 500,000 pounds of cotton, day in, day out. more than any man here. and for that i will be clean. >> i felt so honored to have that responsibility this woman did tread this earth, and i was so close to it, and i got the privilege of giving light to her voice. >> reporter: all the more amazing that this was her first hollywood movie. nyong'o auditioned without an agent, three weeks shy of graduating from drama school. where today they were all pretty thrilled. >> i think it is unprecedented here at the school. so that level of excitement is pretty high, i would say. >> reporter: before acting school, nyong'o had a brief brush with fame as a production
assistant on the set of "the constant gardner." ralph fiennes gently told her the truth about acting. >> i remember saying it is tough, but if it is the only thing you want to do you just have to do it. just don't give up. >> reporter: she didn't. the award was a landslide, winning prizes for her performance and also for her dresses. all the while acknowledging the real-life story behind "12 years a slave." >> it doesn't escape me for one moment that such joy in my life is thanks to such pain in someone else's. >> reporter: believably capturing a character's pain is what truly great actors do so well. lupita nyong'o is now officially part of the club. stephanie gosk, nbc news, new york. >> and that is our broadcast for this monday night as we start off a new week. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. of course we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night.
right now at 6:00, no response. burglars triggered the alarm at a south bay business, but no one came to check it out. why police say that's their policy. thanks for joining us. i'm janelle wang. >> i'm diane. jessica and raj are off tonight a. growing problem in san jose keeps getting worse. for months we reported on an increase in burglaries and one business was hit twice in hours possibly because police didn't respond to the first alarm.
damian trujillo is at that business tonight, damian? >> reporter: we have surveillance footage of a suspect inside of the store here behind me. a suspect who presumably returned a second time to finish the job when he realized police were not coming. the shop owner says this is footage of the suspect inside his store. a suspect who turned on the lights a couple weeks ago while appearing to ransack the place. >> any time someone breaks in, you feel violated. >> reporter: owner ed says an hour and a half later, the same suspect returned for more. >> i called my alarm company, what happened? we called the police, and they failed to respond. >> reporter: san jose police say they did not respond to the alarm per department policy under the verified response policy, officers will only show up if there is visual or audible evidence of a break in or a witness indicating suspes